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Outgoing EU Ambassador to Ethiopia Markussen: ‘Africa needs improved economy’

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When the Danish diplomat started her three-year stint as the European Union’s ambassador to the African Union in September 2020, the Ethiopian capital was grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Soon afterwards the Tigray war broke out, and in November 2021 she had to oversee the evacuation of her staff as fighting came within 200km of the city. That meant Markussen had to spearhead the EU-Africa summit in February 2022 with a skeleton crew. Then came the economic shocks of Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Markussen is reflecting on these challenges near the end of her time as the woman leading Europe’s engagement with Africa. We meet in the spacious garden of her residence in the upmarket Addis Ababa neighbourhood of Mekanisa, a stone’s throw from the AU headquarters, as removal men shuttle to and fro in the background.

The EU is the biggest funder of peace and security efforts in Africa,

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